Sport can be a powerful force in a girl’s life. Girls who participate in physical activity — and stay with it through adolescence — are more likely to have higher body confidence and experience positive health benefits throughout their lives.
When puberty hits, however, and girls experience unique and significant changes to their bodies — a first period, new curves, breast development — they can feel self-conscious about their appearance and exposed and vulnerable to judgement and comparison. This can be amplified in sports environments, both on and off the field.
Globally, 45 percent of teenage girls are dropping out of sport, at twice the rate of boys. New research from Nike and Dove shows that the biggest reason girls drop out is the impact the sports environment can have on their body confidence and self-esteem. To change that environment, coaches are uniquely positioned to help positively influence girls’ perceptions of their bodies. In fact, in Nike and Dove’s research, 74 percent of girls say their coach was the reason they felt more confident.
That’s why Nike and Dove have partnered to launch Body Confident Sport, a first-of-its-kind, scientifically proven set of coaching tools for 11- to 17-year-old girls that will help build their body confidence and make them feel like sport is a place where they belong.
Body Confident Sport was co-developed by Nike and Dove over two years in partnership with world-renowned experts — including the Centre for Appearance Research and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport — and includes input from nearly 5,000 adolescents across France, India, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The online tool includes coaching steps that were scientifically proven to improve self-esteem and body confidence in clinical trials with more than 1,200 girls.
“By shifting the conversation from what their bodies look like to what their bodies can do, we inspire more girls to stay in sport and benefit from it,” said Vanessa Garcia-Brito, VP, NIKE, Inc. Chief Social & Community Impact Officer. “With more girls in sports, we believe we’re creating the next generation of female leaders and changemakers who will move the world forward.”
Body Confident Sport aims to reach 1 million young people around the world to improve their body confidence — and has the potential to reach even more — and underscores Dove and Nike’s long-standing commitments to support women and girls. The partnership leverages each brand’s strengths — Nike as the biggest champion of athletes and sport, and Dove as the world’s largest provider of self-esteem education and body-confidence education — to create greater change globally, with an eye toward a more equitable future for women and girls, on and off the field.
This partnership and tool build upon Nike’s deep body of worldwide work to increase girls’ participation in play and sport and recruit and train more representative coaches. Earlier this month, Nike launched “You Got This,” a YouTube series with and for 10- to 13-year-old girls that uses the power of sport to help them find confidence and a sense of self. It began a partnership with Spotify that aims to inspire 10- to 17-year-old girls in the United Kingdom to use dance to move regularly. These efforts complement the company’s work in Manila at The Courtyard, where Nike has partnered with Girls Got Game Philippines, as well as Nike’s previous partnership with the Tucker Center to provide a free, evidence-based digital tool to help coach girls around the world.
Nike and Dove’s open-source Body Confident Sport tool is available, free of charge, at bodyconfidentsport.com.